Friday, August 28, 2009

The Descent Part 2(2009) -official trailer

One of the best horror movie films I've seen in the last twenty years is 2005's The Descent, directed by Neil Marshall. The sequel for this film will hit theaters later this year, called The Descent Part 2. Here's a trailer:

Chop 'Til You Drop: Two Champions Of Shaolin(1980)

Despite the fact I've always been a fan of martial arts films it has been only in recent years that I've begun investing in these movies on DVD. A purchase I made a few months ago is a dandy: a four movie DVD set called the "Shaw Brothers Collection", featuring The Heroic Ones, The Battle Wizard, Two Champions Of Shaolin and The Duel Of The Century.

All of these films are presented in their original theatrical aspect ratios and have dual language options(English dubbed or in Chinese w/English subtitles).

The fighting sequences in these films are marvelous. My favorite among the four films in this DVD set is 1980's Two Champions Of Shaolin, which chronicles the rivalry between two warring clans, the Shaolin and Wutang. The combat sequences include stick fighting, "monkey" boxing, kung fu and the use of flying daggers.

To see the "Shaw Brothers Collection" DVD set for sale at click the title of this blog entry or copy and paste this URL into your browser's address bar:

The trailer for Two Champions Of Shaolin(1980):

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Take Your Pick: My Bloody Valentine(2009)

I'm not usually much for remakes of classic('80's) slasher horror films. That said I believe My Bloody Valentine(2009), directed by Patrick Lussier, is quite good. This remake is an update of the original, a movie of the same name that opened in theaters in 1981 and during a time when the "slasher" horror film was beginning to gain momentum in the minds and hearts of horror movie fans. Films like Friday The 13th(1980) and its follow up Friday The 13th Part 2(1981) were important in giving this genre of horror film a boost, as was 1981's The Burning and Tobe Hooper's '81 film The Funhouse.

My Bloody Valentine(2009)
, like other slasher horror film remakes or "reboots", presents some very gory and often stomach churning kills. The gore effects, along with the suspense of the film, work very well in concert in making this movie as much a mystery "whodunit?" as a "killer on the loose" film.

The film's story: the coal mining town of Harmony is trying to recover from the "Valentine's Day Massacre" when a crazed coal miner named Harry Warden went on a murderous rampage and killed twenty two(22) locals with a railroad pick. Warden was killed, or so the townsfolk believed. Fast forward ten years and Harmony again becomes a den of terror as a man wearing a mask and coal miner gear begins killing citizens again in gruesome fashion with a railroad mattock. Some of the town's citizenry believe Harry Warden has come back from the dead. Others believe somebody else has been doing the killing...but who?

The kills in this film are always bloody and at times will make even the most seasoned "gorehound" wince a bit. The acting is serviceable which is all it needs to be in this movie.

The trailer for My Bloody Valentine(2009):

My Bloody Valentine 3D HD 2009 Official Trailer - These bloopers are hilarious

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hack Job: Friday The 13th(2009)

Despite my disdain for remakes I have invested, from time to time, my hard earned money to buy DVDs of some of Hollywood's more famous horror movies. My most recent purchase in this regard was buying DVDs of the updated "Friday The 13th" and "My Bloody Valentine" films. I'll first offer my thoughts on the former, Friday The 13th(2009), directed by Marcus Nispel.

As remakes of classic slasher horror films go I'd rate this one better than average but not a film I would describe as "good". The makeup effects and special effects regarding Jason Voorhee's kills are predictably excellent. The acting is, well, predictably average to stale but given this genre of film I don't think anyone in their right mind would expect any Oscars to be awarded to this movie. Give credit to Derek Mears, who played "Jason Voorhees" in this film, who seemed to infuse Voorhees with a little more enthusiasm, and agility, than the more plodding style of previous "Voorhees" actor Kane Hodder. (I like all of Hodder's performances in the previous "Friday" films, by the way)

As before in the '80's franchise of "Friday" films, Jason Voorhees is a hulking, grubby looking and seriously disfigured fellow who goes on a murderous rampage at Camp Crystal Lake. Several sullen locals warn the group of young people, which includes the requisite young and buxom females and beer swilling, marijuana smoking male counterparts, to stay away from the lake and surrounding areas. The group doesn't, oblivious to the danger. The young people quickly become, along with two locals, lambs to the slaughter for Mr. Voorhees who, after a few kills, replaces the burlap bag on his head with a hockey mask. Obviously this does nothing to improve the killer's appearance but it does satisfy those fans of the '80 franchise, like myself, that have come to associate Voorhees with the hockey mask. The victims are systemically hacked, impaled or outright butchered by Voorhees.

The kills in this update of the '80's classics are similar to those of the second "Friday" film(in 1981) when Jason took over where his deranged mother left off(in the 1980 original): there are impalings, a screwdriver through the neck, an arrow through the skull and other gruesome shenanigans involving a pick axe and machete, all of which turn the camp into nothing more than a human stock yard of corpses.

Slasher horror film fans will no doubt like this film but after watching this remake I'm still much more entertained by the original and its two follow ups.

The trailer for Friday The 13th(2009):

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

White Out: Snowbeast(1977)

One of the topic threads at my message board, Monsterland Forums, is dedicated to horror/sci-fi films featuring Sasquatch and Sasquatch like creatures, including the "Yeti", aka "The Abominable Snowman". I've always been fascinated by the phenomena of these creatures and many of the movies about them creeped me out as a kid. One such feature is 1977's Snowbeast, a made for TV movie that originally aired on NBC. I remember, as a 15 year old, talking my mom into letting me watch it. She hated all horror and monster movies. For some reason I still can't remember, I got to watch this movie, and on a school night no less.

The film's story: the mysterious and gory deaths of skiers at a Colorado ski resort prompt the resort manager and his friend, along with the local police chief, to investigate the cause. They definitely don't like what they discover: a hulking and menacing Yeti like creature is roaming the areas around the resort. One night the creature wanders down into the resort community, its appearance creating terror and chaos. In the end the movie's principal characters enter the creature's domain and hunt it down, the movie's climax a face off between the hostile monster and our protagonists. (no other spoilers)

One of the things I like most about Snowbeast is that the monster's appearance isn't revealed too soon in this feature. The roar of the creature is instead what we get early and often and it's effective. The creature's roar is loud and has an almost dinosaur like quality about it. Those characters in this movie who hear it are understandably spooked.

The cast includes Bo Svenson, Yvette Mimieux and Clint Walker. The movie is available on various Region 1 multi movie DVD sets and also as at least one "stand alone" title disc.

Click the title of this blog post to see a DVD of this feature for sale at or copy and paste this URL into your browser's address bar:

A promo trailer for a DVD of Snowbeast(1977):